Eye of the Story

The Evergreen State College

Category: Week 4 Journal (Page 2 of 4)

Redemptive Voice: Journal Entry #5

“Voice presents the facts of the event, then steps back and steps up, and comments on the events. The voice is not linear. It can time travel.” – Tom Spanbauer. Tom continues that writing encourages us to describe the scene. Comment on the scene. Be in the scene. Step away. Go vertical. It’s so liberating.

I decided to try redemptive voice:

I knew the loss of my grandmother would have resounding affects on my family. What I didn’t know then what that it would bring us all back together again.

I knew it would be hard to watch my mom see my grandmother in her assisted living home. What I didn’t know was that my grandmother would say those three little words my mom always longed to hear growing up.

Working on redemptive voice reminded me of the importance of creating a scene that draws the reader in but also allows them to question just how much I’ll be sharing/ and makes the reader think critically about what I am saying. Although I am writing creative nonfiction I want my reader to be just as curious and engaged in my detailed writing as they would be in a fiction piece. It’s important to know that a reader can be just as enticed in nonfiction as in fiction writing. Redemptive voice is important in setting up a scene for a story that brings about a very important aspect of writing for yourself but also for others. 

Redemptive is defined as “acting to save someone from error or evil.” This is interesting. So to use redemptive voice in your writing you are using it to essentially save your own reader from committing error or evil in your own story but giving them enough sustenance to keep on reading. Or, are we saving our character from error or evil by writing to change their actions. Redemptive voice has a personality and it speaks from within the story. It literally speaks to the reader from inside the story. We cannot forget to give the reader a look on the inside so as to draw the reader into the story line. My writing has a very important job and that is to make the reader want to know more about a person that they do not know personally. I want the reader to become just as curious about my grandmother’s life and her mysterious past just as I was in knowing her. With doing this I cannot forget to make this writing also for my family members, it is important to keep in the family for generations to come. Most importantly I have a duty to myself to create who she was on paper, as best I can. Redemptive voice is another tool to do so.

Week 4 Journal Post by Zach Page

I am so happy that I chose to go to a school in the Pacific Northwest. I remember when I was about five or six and I told my mom (while it was raining) how much I love the rain and wanted to live in an area that had a lot of it. She told me I should move to Seattle and I said that seemed too far away. She responded by saying she was about to move there and she wanted to because they had so much coffee. BLECH! I was only five or six and hated coffee! I knew there was no way I would ever live in Washington. I sit here, staring out at the dense Washington rain and giggle as I sip my black coffee.

Journal Entry #2 – Week Four

I often wonder what prompts people that make the decisions that they make at the specific time in which they make them. I wonder if, just maybe, monumental things that exist within the lives of the others that inhabit the world around me are triggered, in a sense, by whoever has recently taken up an important role in their life. I think about this in the context of people but also with the notion in mind that jobs, hobbies and mental states can do the something of a similar nature. Upon reading The Rings of Saturn and the first half of The White Album I have been left with both an overwhelming sense of the vastness of the world (mainly from Sebald’s work) and the pure isolation that can come with the world seeming too open, too unknown and too sporadic (from the work of Joan Didion).
What I find to be crucially important in who one sees the world, who they associate with and how they define themselves within society is to be aware of the fact that a person’s outlook on life is quite possibly the most important thing about them, who they are, and why they do what they do. For a long time now I have had a very negative view of the world and of life itself (and specifically human life at that). I found that I was bothered by an overwhelming majority of accepted societal customs and specifically those tied to confidence (how one utilizes it and why) and comfort (how one finds and maintains it in social situations). I thought that it would be easier to accept that I just did not agree with how the world worked but to do nothing in an attempt to adapt to it or to learn about it more on the off chance that I was, in fact, misguided in my understanding of certain societal roles and pressures that I deemed to be immoral or difficult to deal with because they were lacking in something that I still to this day can not quite pinpoint.
They say it’s important to follow your gut, but I say that they brain does a very good job into tricking you into thinking that your mind is your gut and your gut is your mind. If one is unable to accurately identify a base need or feeling, they can easily begin to second-guess every feeling, every emotion for the possibility of it being fabrication as a sort of defense mechanism. I find that, and especially in the northwestern corner of America, it is incredibly easy to get lost in ones own “headspace”, to get lost in thoughts about the nature of thought, to delve too deep into the root of emotions that occur because they are just a conditioned response and not something that can be analyzed in any helpful sense.
Lately I have discovered within myself the understanding that if I feel like the world is inevitably doomed to perpetuate it’s sense of wrongness and that there is nothing that I can find aside from moments of fleeting happiness then the world would never feel redeemable. This does not mean that the world is so. All this means is that my mindset is blocking me from seeing different angles about how the world works. I have decided to undertake the challenge of being optimistic, if still cautiously so, in an attempt to make the world seem brighter through my eyes. Not so bright that I am blinded to the injustices that still plague very corner of the earth but to understand truly why they happen and to what extent I should be personal disheartened by it to the point where I feel the need to withdraw because by withdrawing I am doing no good to anyone other than myself and that, more than many of the things that I am bothered by, is part of the wrongness of the world.

This Week. (1/31/16, Zoe Brook.)

But those things don’t matter. Those things aren’t what people want to see. It’s not what I want people to see of me. Those things I won’t tell. Won’t show. I don’t think I am lying about myself. Perhaps I am, but what am I to do about that?
There isn’t a single person alive that shows every single person they meet the same version of themselves. You can easily see it in the people around you. And that is just context, environmental factors, the change that occurs from observation, a change that depends on who is doing the observation. That’s not lying, that’s just physics of sorts. Of course that is over simplified, but that’s a valid way to get a point across, many times.
Students act very differently when in the presence of their teachers than when they are on their own. There is a different version of that student depending on the people who they are with. With different other students they present different sides of themselves. The aspects presented to a teacher if asked a question is different than those when they’re just in the vicinity of the teacher.
That doesn’t mean that all students are multiple people, or that any one aspect of what they present at different times is the one true them. Perhaps parts of those personalities and attitudes presented in different circumstances are ones that feel wrong or that have never been present before. Perhaps there are parts of those personalities that are part of all of your personalities. But it still means that there are many things that influence the way a person presents themselves in different company, whether that’s a good thing to them or others or whether it is a bad thing. And certainly not all of those differences are lies.
My dad once told me about a conversation he and his friends had when he was in college, about whether a characteristic they had picked up from someone else, or imitated was a characteristic that they could claim as their own. They decided that at the point that that characteristic was common enough, when a person did it without thinking, or when its imitation was intention or had been given its own twist by that new individual, that it was it was theirs.
This was one of the first times I was introduced to the idea that you could change yourself. Not that you were not just who you were and that who you were was unchanging and automatic, but that you change.
You could change yourself for the better, if you wanted. You could identify parts of yourself that you didn’t like so much, and you could look for things you liked in others, and you could use that knowledge to be a person that you liked better.
It’s one of those simple ideas that doesn’t seem to be put into words that make sense very often. I’m sure there are many who’ve done it much better than I have here.
It’s also one of those things that’s much, much easier said than done.
It requires a lot of vigilance and awareness of what you’re doing, and that’s exhausting. If you have other things that require your attention, circumstances you can’t control but have to deal with, it gets much harder. Sometimes the progress you’ve made feels undone.
I don’t know whether it ever gets to a point where the progress stays, or whether the circumstances will allow for the progress to be faster. But I think it will, I believe it will. I hope it will. And maybe the hope is what makes it possible to put in that constant energy to make yourself a little better, bit by bit.

Week 4

As a reminder: 

“Seeing codeine in my piss”

“Time to wait another week to reach the weekend”

“Edward four loco hands”

“When your buddy pulls out codeine….”

“Sweating in a vacant part of the library drinking coffee falling asleep and doing online chemistry but im also cold.”

“Just cus you were bullied as a kid doesnt mean you can be a fuck head RA”

“Gonna need to drink very heavily after all of this bullshit ass biology. Holy fuck”

“Im trying to get soooo ignorant tonight”

“Vodka gummy bear plug”

“I cant over my RA his ass had a crip walk holy fuck ol “can you get to your room okay?” noggin asssss. Puffer coat wearin mug IM FUCKED HAHA”


Alana Cooper-Prince Week 4 Journal Entry

Written 1/28/16

It’s now almost the end of Week 4. Oh god. I’m getting a little freaked out at this point, if I’m being completely honest. I mean, I have my outline done, which is fairly detailed, and I’m pretty happy with it. I’m constantly thinking about my story, putting together sentences in my head, coming up with things to include, all that good stuff. And yet, I’ve hardly started writing the actual thing. So I just need to sit down and do it.

I’ve also begun rereading The Stranger Beside Me for some inspiration and ideas. Unfortunately, I’m finding it just as creepy and terrifying as when I first read it. Don’t get me wrong; I love it. It’s just one of those things where I know it’s not good for me but I do it anyway because it’s so good. Except this is for school, so at least I have a solid excuse.

But back to the actual writing. I guess my issue with just sitting down and just doing it is that the whole is a bit scary to me. First of all, I’ve not actually written much fiction, so it’s different from what I’m used to. And second of all, I’ve never really written fiction (or nonfiction) in more than just very short short stories, so the scope of this project, even if it only ends up being like 15 pages, is totally unfamiliar territory. And lastly, as of now, my project is still full of potential. I mean, sure, it could turn out like total crap, but it could also turn out to be completely great.

In my head, I know that it will most likely fall somewhere in the middle (hopefully leaning more toward the “great” side), but saying goodbye to that potential and possibility by actually taking the ideas and turning them into a story is still frightening, and even a little bit sad.

But I’m going to do it, with the hope that it lives up to at least part of that potential that I’ve been imagining.


Thinking about the simple truth of we are all beings of individual experience. I think of the fact that we are beings. We are experience, individual. Hmmmm. Something about the clock here. I keep thinking about the clock and how we follow the rules of a clock so religiously. I think about the clock and the world we live in, it is mechanic and artificial. It seems that we are training ourselves to be disconnected from what we are trying to tell ourselves. What our bodies hearts and minds scream to us every waking day.

Example. Base off of logic and some stuff I have read. Giving birth, many muscles are used. It is commonly know, I think, that muscle tension in general is not a good thing. We get massages and all sorts of remedies meant to cure the tension. Now I think of a hospital. These places are built, sterile and inhumane. Clean is good, but who can say they feel comfortable in a hospital? Now when it comes to giving birth in one, somehow we have convinced ourselves that this is the way to do it. Sometimes it is necessary. I think though, giving birth in a stress free environment, one where it is possible to be calm as possible that seems important. I have heard of many very successful homebirths. I have also heard of many C-sections in the hospital.

This leads me on the tangential path of us fucking up our bodies by not listening to them, and instead listening to these other forces around us that seem social and helpful but may be anything but.

We are told what food to eat, how much to sleep, what to do for exercise, what habits are good, how to be happy, to take medications to cover up problems, to suck it up and push through, to be this and not be that. On and on and on.

We are social creatures yes. So I feel that fact must play a role in our health. I was just reading a study about synchronicity between humans and increase in pain tolerance. What does that say?

Are we really getting the help we need from humans who want to help us? Are we living in a community of people who love and care for one another? Or are we becoming isolated and blunted, insensitive to the world around us as we listen to the words of corporate life that feeds off of money. Are we listening to a fictitious creature that lives off of our perpetuation of that fiction? Must we devote our lives to keeping this creature alive? Are we also living in a world that makes it so difficult for us to listen to our bodies, to celebrate them and understand them?

Maybe we should keep throwing drugs at the pain and discomfort, dumbing ourselves to sensation. Maybe we should take more drugs for psychological ailments and forget about the roots of the problem or other ways of helping these people.

Think think think….

Are we living in a world that disconnects us from ourselves? From our bodies and minds? Are we addicted to feeding the creature? (Capitalist, corporate, profit driven priority.)

From a book: Most of our world is made up inside our heads.

From Buddhist philosophy: take away craving, aversion- the need to control. Replace with awareness to all things. Everything changes. Feel and be aware

My thoughts: what role does social relationships have in us being aware? Of experiencing? Why is relation, friendship, synchronicity, solidarity important?

Research: Synchronicity, the social animal, mindfulness, meditating, stress, environmental factors in shaping the human experience, the human experience- also based on context.

Michelle Grinstead: The Midway Point

After delving into a project all about myself,and writing scholarships, I’ve grown tired of my thoughts. My metaphorical inner voice is pissing me off. Why is anything I’m saying important? With how I’m feeling, that’s a trick question it isn’t.  

This self imposed angst will eventually ear off, but since I’m here why not let it roll over me. I will fall down this grassy hill of self doubt and pick myself up. Ignoring the fresh grass and dirt stains on my jeans and the little drops of red from my shoulder on my t-shirt. Where did the blood come from? You might be wondering. Well, at some point as I was tumbling down I hit the tree of apathy and had to detangle my body from its all encompassing limbs. Eventually I escaped but it tried to cling onto me. Its claw like branches dug into my shoulder as I freed myself, leaving a wound that throbs to remind me of the false comfort I left. 

It’s time. 

It’s time to stride forward down the cobbled path I’ve created in my mind. Forcing a falsely confident swagger as the hot air of anxiety continuously tries to drag me down in a sweaty panicked hunch. Each street block worth of steps brings me to a slightly cooler patch of air. An air filling with relief. I’m continuing down this path but another hill is always looming. This one of self loathing. 

Which looks to be a much wilder ride.

1/31/2016 – Scott Weedall

Tomorrow I meet with my writing group to provide feedback and advice on each others projects. I’m a ta point with some of the scripts where I need to be careful to discern personal preference from objective criticism which speaks to the quality of my group members writing. In any case that’s been something I’ve enjoyed and I feel that keeping it at just us three should be a good number. Attempts at incorporating others into the group have proved unsuccessful and in my mind unnecessary.

In my own writing I’m amazed at the strange directions the story takes that I would have a lot of trouble conceiving in the outlining process. Among these is how one of central romances unfold. I also think I might finally pass the bechdel test in the script, a first for me as a straight white dude. Does that mean I’m finally not sexist. Probably not, but hey all you can do is try.

In short this has basically been a good week. I’m currently wondering about how to be as honest and truthful as possible. Not just in my work but also in my personal life. I don’t know what kind of effect this will have on my writing but right now I have a good feeling.

Yours Truly

The Magnanimous Scott Weedall

Journal Entry #4 Childhood Dreams

Prompt: Write about a moment after which you were different.

The sand at Fort Worden would mold to your feet as you walked past people and their dogs excitedly leaping over those enveloped in the sand. I remember sliding down the sand dunes creating an almost volcanic eruption with my friends as we created a never ending pile of sand at the base of a log turned seat to those lounging along the sand wall. We would be laughing and giggling at our stumbling (almost drunk) as we’d try to scale the wall again in an effort for height and stunned clarity of our playground beneath us. We felt like we owned the world, the water, and the sand,  our never ending play set. The nearby store carried the popsicle’s we’d hurry to finish before it turned to a sticky mess between our finger tips. The nearby bunkers is where our rebellious consequences took place, becoming our canvas for spray painted smiley faces. We’d run up the stairs to the top of the bunkers and dangle our feet over the edge. We’d take turn taking pictures  as the wind bubbled our shirts up like balloons, almost carrying our light tween bodies to the sky. In the summertime the sun would take us across the old splintered maritime center dock and bring us to it’s railings. We would peer over the side in wonder of the oceans depths below us. The idea of jumping off like a bird from it’s perch kept me at a stand still. While my friend’s climbed over the side and swayed their feet above the water I stood landlocked in my own fear. To take the plunge or to stare at my fears until the water would come for me and swallow me whole. Maybe it was a month later, or even weeks, but eventually I let my fear take hold and I leaped over the edge and let the water consume me. I hit the water like a slap in the face and plunged underneath it’s depth in finality and childlike ending. This was it. My childhood had come to an ending.

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The Evergreen State College
Olympia, Washington

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